OU football welcomes back familiar face to coaching staff

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Ottawa University football team welcomed back a familiar face to the coaching staff.

Nick Davis, a former graduate assistant  (2011-12), returns as the defensive coordinator. Davis coached defensive backs and linebackers in his earlier tenure. He was part of two NAIA Football Championship Series qualifying teams and helped OU to a 2011 KCAC Championship. Davis coached 10 all-conference performers, three NAIA All-Americans and served as the junior varsity defensive coordinator.


“Having followed Nick’s growth as a coach over the past decade and seeing his success on the field with the spread defense, I know that our players are getting a great leader and teacher as our defensive coordinator,” Ottawa head football coach Kent Kessinger said. “When he served on our staff previously, he was a tireless worker and great recruiter. Nick has always been a part of the Braves football family, but it is really nice to have him back here at OU.”

Davis spent the past decade on the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology staff, a NCAA Division III school in Terre Haute, Ind. He was the Fighting Engineers defensive coordinator for six seasons and was promoted to assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator in 2018. Davis also coached the linebackers. He holds a USA Weightlifting Certification and served as Rose-Hulman’s football strength and conditioning coordinator.

Davis has helped thousands of coaches across the nation by sharing his knowledge in person and on platforms like CoachesClinic.com and USAFootball.com.

“I’m excited to be back at Ottawa,” Davis said. “Since Ottawa was my first coaching job, the University and coach Kessinger hold a special place in my heart. I’m looking forward to once again working with Coach (Julian) Mendez. I’m ready for the challenge of the competitive KCAC schedule.”

Davis led one of the nation’s top defensive units in his time as defensive coordinator at Rose-Hulman. From 2015 to 2020, his defenses led the nation in sacks. The Fighting Engineer defense led the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in total defense in 2015 and scoring defense in 2016. Under Davis’ tutelage in 2020, the Rose-Hulman defense only allowed 13.6 points and 305.6 yards of total offense per game.

While at Rose-Hulman, Davis coached three All-Americans, eight All-Region selections, and 33 All-HCAC performers. Prior to being named defensive coordinator, Davis was the Fighting Engineers’ special teams coordinator in 2013 and 2014. He coached two All-HCAC performers, had one player selected to play in the DIII Senior Classic and his special teams unit broke three school records.

Before joining the OU football staff in 2010, Davis served as a strength and conditioning football intern at the University of Michigan and Western Illinois University in 2010.

Davis was a member of the football team at NCAA Division III Monmouth College in Illinois, earning Academic All-Conference honors. He spent one season as a defensive line assistant for the Fighting Scots.

He graduated from Monmouth with a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in communications in 2010. Davis completed his master’s in education curriculum and instruction from Ottawa in 2011. 

Davis will be joined in Ottawa Tuesday by his wife, Heather, and their two dogs, Scout and Annie.